THE COVIDIOTS OF THE PANDEMIC

For many there exists a need for Schooling closer to home.


‘Periods of extensive solitude, paired with a steep loss of freedom, has evidently had dire emotional consequences..

Sounds like a very poor attempt at a Pirates of the Caribbean sequel, doesn’t it? Nonetheless, there is a simple fact alluding to the nature of societies that, in my personal opinion, was said best by Freud: “Individual liberty is not an asset of civilisation”. That is to say, the needs of the individual often play defective roles within the welfare of a community.

Perhaps this message begins to echo when we take a closer look at the exposed minority who have been caught disregarding the legislative laws of Covid-19.

Awarded as one of The Sun’s quirkiest phrases of 2020 (coming just 2nd place to “Doomscrolling”) is the phrase ‘Covidiot’. Maybe you have already seen it in the title of social media posts outing rule breakers?

Twitter-born in the early spring of 2020, the portmanteau (Covid-idiot) refers to anyone who, even in light of the current pandemic exploding worldwide, continues to ignore government restrictions implemented in order to prevent transmission of the virus.

A good example of this was seen on NYE last year, where in Chingford, UK, police busted around 100 people crammed inside an old church having an illegal party.

One could say every individual there is eligible for the title of ‘Covidiot’, because they attended a heavily confined mass gathering; during the ascending peak of a pandemic; within the county that currently has one of the highest infection rates in the country.

But, as is the same with any petty insult, the word serves little to the understanding behind these borderline unethical choices, and ignores the mental precipitators that inspire them.

One of the biggest of these being the significantly large increase in depression during 2020, especially amongst young adults. Periods of extensive solitude, paired with a steep loss of freedom, has evidently had dire emotional consequences amongst the Gen-X & Z population.

Psychologically speaking, it is our developed sense of ‘cognitive dissonance’ that begins to falter under the heavy weight of emotional pain. When that pain becomes loud enough, it feels easier to ignore the little voice in your head that tells you what you’re doing is wrong.

We may even create new cognitions that appear justify what we’re doing, for example: “I will take every precaution possible”, or “If we all get tested then it should be okay”.

Even though we may understand our actions are immoral or unethical, we tend to circumvent that using excuses or flat-out denial.

Sociologically speaking, the matter would not be so much that we are ignoring our dissonance, but that our innate psychological limitations blind us to it.

‘Bounded Ethicality’, coined in 2011 by Bazerman & Tenbrussel, posits that way we interact with our environment can have a direct effect on the way we ethically perceive our own actions.


Meet Stephen on the Team Page & Culture Department


By Stephen Hinds Day: Culture Columnist


It’s not as straight forward as the “monkey see, monkey do” idiom, but it remains a basic anthropological fact that human beings are naturally influenced by their environment and those within it; for a group, at it’s core, is made up of shared belief systems and attitudes.

On the other side of the spectrum, however, there are those who don’t believe in COVID-19 altogether. Along with the emergence of the virus came a wave of conspiracy theories and misinformation spreading the internet; an “infodemic”, as the WHO calls it.

2020 saw arson attacks on 5G telecommunication towers, mass protests against face masks and now, more recently, against Covid vaccinations.

Even with the disastrously high, and still growing, number of fatalities across the world, thousands of individuals on an international scale choose to herd into enormous crowds, void of any PPE, that are virtually impossible to socially distance.

Unlike the partygoers, these protestors display strong conviction in their choices. Cognitive dissonance offers little insight to those who feel unequivocal in their actions and beliefs. With this in mind, perhaps the answer has more to do with the “systemic failures” of the government, as opposed to the nuances of individual psychology.

Although many forms of illegal congregations have been disbanded successfully by government enforcements, one has to ask whether lockdown restrictions, and punishments, are harsh or equal enough for those continuing to beach the law.


Intervention

Imprisonment is a definite possibility in countries such as Albania, Jamaica or France. But at its base level, for example in the UK or Italy, punishments revolve entirely around a system of fines; diluting one’s sense of punishment down to their financial value.

So for celebrities such as Rita Ora or Kendall Jenner, who broke lockdown restrictions to hold a party, a fine is both affordable and quickly resolved.

But for those who are simply unable to afford the fine, such as Jamaican Dean George Scott, they will serve 6 months imprisonment for walking to the shops after curfew had ended

A law fundamental to the resurgence of national economy and survival of civilians cannot be inconsistent nor malleable, and it is for this reason that the “rules have to be fully supported by law”, says Virgin Atlantic’s former director of communications, Paul Charles.

Perhaps government leniency is to blame for the condemning and inexcusable actions of these “Covidiots”. Perhaps these choices can only be made by those unfamiliar to the true effects of this infection; as Piers Morgan continues to state, commenting on a “hoax” crying mob of ‘anti-vaxxers’ stationed outside a hospital: They may not be so brave when “confronted with the reality of people choking to death”. Regardless, their actions undoubtedly spawn from a ground containing more than merely the soil of a selfish mentality; as the word “Covidiot” and its definition may initially lead you to believe.


MACKAYAN: the covidiots of the pandemic

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